Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Rapid Recap: Northwestern 76, Penn State 72

Daily file photo by Angeli Mittal
Graduate student guard Boo Buie looks to create separation in the lane.

Three days removed from a statement home victory over Michigan State, Northwestern traveled east to Happy Valley to take on Penn State for the first of a two-game road trip. When the two teams squared off last season, the hosts took both contests in overtime.

Looking to avenge 2023’s senior night and conference tournament defeats, the Wildcats (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten) prevailed in a second-half offensive firestorm against the Nittany Lions (8-8, 2-3 Big Ten).

Penn State took control early in the first half, forcing three quickfire NU turnovers and scoring the game’s opening six points. Although the ‘Cats battled back and kept the game within striking distance, the Nittany Lions seemed to respond to every NU run with a timely bucket of their own.

Although the ‘Cats posted a 5-of-9 shooting clip from beyond the arc and held Penn State to a 10% conversion rate on 3-pointers, the Nittany Lions had their way inside the arc and at the charity stripe to maintain their advantage.

Behind senior guard Ty Berry’s and graduate student guard Boo Buie’s 17 combined first-half points, the NU entered halftime in a 40-32 hole. 

Following the break, the hosts kept their foot on the gas pedal and extended their lead to double-digits at the second frame’s first media timeout. But, the ‘Cats stormed back on a 7-0 run to bring the margin back to 55-54, courtesy of senior center Matthew Nicholson’s dunk.

Sophomore forward Nick Martinelli’s left-handed floater gave the ‘Cats their first lead of the night with just over 11 minutes remaining. On the ensuing offensive possessions, Buie extended the visitors’ lead to 60-55 with a pair of inside scores.

With 17 second-half points on an unconscious 85.7% conversion rate, junior guard Brooks Barnhizer helped power his squad to a comeback win.

Here are three takeaways from NU’s road victory over Penn State.

  1. ‘Cats plagued by sloppy offensive start

For a team that prides itself on limited turnovers and maintaining possession, NU’s opening four minutes proved a recipe for disaster. The ‘Cats gave away two turnovers in the game’s first two minutes, while the Nittany Lions dialed up early pressure. 

Errant passes, offensive miscues and an apparent urge to force the matchups’ action amounted to seven first-half turnovers — compared to just five turnovers in the team’s full game against the Spartans on Sunday.

However, Buie’s possessional clinic persisted through the first 20 minutes of action, as the graduate student guard didn’t relinquish possession in the first half. 

  1. Buie rises up scoring ranks

Fresh off his first career double-double Sunday night, Buie carried a prime opportunity to rewrite a school-history wrinkle on Wednesday.

Once the second half began, Buie found himself just three points away from eclipsing Evan Eschmeyer’s career tally of 1,805. For one of the most prolific scorers in school history, the point guard is well on his way to becoming NU’s all-time points leader, needing a hair over 14 points per game to eclipse John Shurna’s watermark before the postseason begins.

Less than four minutes into the second frame, Buie slashed inside and converted a layup to tie Eschmeyer’s figure with his 10th point of the evening. 

After Penn State coach Mike Rhoades received a technical foul, Buie stepped up to the foul line and drained both free throws to collect his 11th and 12th points of the night to best Eschmeyer’s career total. 

  1. ‘Cats face tough test Saturday at No. 15 Wisconsin

As coach Chris Collins has repeated throughout the season, the Big Ten schedule flies by fast and furious, and results must be quickly flushed — regardless of wins or losses. 

Now, NU will play its second consecutive ranked opponent on the road, as Collins’ bunch heads north to face the Badgers (11-3, 3-0 Big Ten). Wisconsin hasn’t lost in Madison since its Nov. 10 tussle with then-No. 9 Tennessee and carries an 8-1 home record.

The ‘Cats swept last season’s series against the Badgers, prevailing in a rock fight inside the Kohl Center.

Set for a road battle at Ohio State Wednesday night, Wisconsin could extend its winning streak to five games prior to Saturday’s showdown.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jakeepste1n

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Men’s Basketball: Northwestern shows poise in bounce-back victory over Michigan State

Men’s Basketball: Hunger shines in first career start, helps Northwestern knock off Michigan State 88-74

Rapid Recap: Northwestern 88, Michigan State 74

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